August 29, 2009

Lemon Nutrition Facts

Lemons are sour tasting fruit that form part of the citrus family. They are yellow or green in color and both the juice and rind are used in cooking, baking and may also be added to drinks for a zesty flavor.

About 5% of the lemon juice is acid. Its pH is around 2 to 3 and it is what gives lemons their sour taste.

Lemons are believed to have some heath benefits due to their chemical structure and unique flavonoid compounds. Lemons have anti-oxidant properties which are believed to fight off free radicals and cancer cells. According to old housewife's tales and now Ayurvedic medicine, having a cup of hot water with a squeeze of lemon juice has been used to release toxins from the liver.

Most notably, lemons are jam-packed with vitamin C. A mere tablespoon of lemon juice has 7 mg of the vitamin and is considered a source. A half-cup of juice meets 100% of the RDA for vitamin C. One lemon would also contain about 12 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of protein and 3 grams of sodium. Lemons contain no fat and no sugar.

In a research study, presented at the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology's Annual, 2004 Meeting, the inability to identify the smell of lemons was among the top ten smells that could predict Alzheimer's disease.

Like the other senses, the sense of smell is affected in dementia, but anecdotal evidence suggests that the ability to smell and identify some odors disappears faster than the other senses. The 10-smell odor identification system was founded to be a better predictor of Alzheimer's disease than the brain and memory imaging tests that are used as the standard. (health.learninginfo.org)

August 26, 2009

Palembang Duku Fruit: Palembang, Sumatra

Ask any sidewalk duku vendor in Jakarta and chances are they will earnestly tell you that the round yellow fruit they sell come all the way from Palembang. The truth is, however, that there is hardly a duku tree to be found in the capital of South Sumatra province.

Where does Palembang’s duku fruit come from then? Ogan Komering Ulu, Ogan Komering Ilir, Muara Enim, Musi Rawas and Lahat regencies, all in South Sumatra, none close to Palembang as Khairul Saleh explains.

The good news is that Palembang duku tastes sweeter than duku fruit from other provinces and that explains why sidewalk vendors will tell you that their duku came from Palembang.

South Sumatra has long supplied Jakarta and other big cities on Java with the fruit, the scientific name of which is lansium domesticum corr. In fact, people in Jakarta and other cities in Java often enjoy the fruit ahead of South Sumatra residents themselves. The reason is economic. At the peak of duku season, the fruit sells for Rp 1,000 (US$0.11) per kilogram in South Sumatra, compared to between Rp 6,000 and Rp 9,000 in Jakarta.

Aside from Jakarta, Palembang duku are also exported to Bandung, Surabaya and Semarang. In the 1990s, duku from Belatung and surrounding areas were exported to Singapore by a wholesaler in Cirebon, West Java. After strict sorting, the fruit was packed in standard containers and transported by air from either Palembang and Lampung. The exports lasted for seven years, but due to an unknown reason, suddenly stopped.

For the long journey to Java, duku fruits are packed in specially designed wooden boxes measuring 20 cm long, 20 cm high and 40 cm wide. A box weighs between 15 and 18 kilograms.

Come harvest time, plantation owners, village youths who serve as tree climbers and deliverers, middlemen and box makers are all engaged in the horticultural business.

According to Subrandianto, 36, a duku farmer in Belatung village, Lubuk Batang district, Ogan Komering Ulu (OKU) regency, duku trees have been handed down through generations and many are hundreds of years old.

“For us, duku trees are inherited from parents and even ancestors so their existence should be preserved,” Subrandianto said.

Dozens of villages around Belatung also produce duku, including Lubuk Batang Lama and Lubuk Batang Baru, Belimbing, Durian, Kerto Mulyo and Kepahyang. The products of these villages are known for their very sweet taste, just like those of Rasuan, now famous at Kramat Jati wholesale market in East Jakarta.

Duku trees are not so difficult to maintain and farmers spend little money on fertilizer. The generally sandy soil of plantations or the land close to Ogan River are ideal for duku because of the steady water supply and natural fertilizer formed by falling leaves.

“Monkeys, squirrels and bats are the only pests when the harvest season comes,” said Subradianto, who said he had inherited around 100 duku trees from his parents.

Theoretically, a duku tree takes at least 12 years to bear fruit. Subrandianto said it all depended on soil conditions and trace elements.

“Most duku trees (in the province) bear fruit after 15 years, some even 20 years. The long period it takes for duku trees to bear fruit has prompted us to treat duku as an auxiliary crop rather than a primary source of income,” he said.

Duku, which is round or sometimes oval, belongs to the Meliacceae family. It has smooth and thin brownish yellow skin containing sap. Its segmented flesh is translucent white and tastes sweet. The flesh constitutes between 64 and 77 percent of the fruit.

Apart from being consumed fresh after peeling, some parts of duku have other health benefits. In the season when mosquitoes transmit diseases, the fruit’s skin can be used as a repellent. Villagers in the Philippines dry duku skin in the sun and burn it to keep insects away.

The skin also serves as an anti-diarrheal drug due to its oleoresin content. Duku seeds can be used to cure fever by grinding them into fine power, as done by villagers in Malaysia. The Duku’s bark is also effective in treating dysentry and malaria. Those stung by scorpions can be cured with a duku bark power paste.

The fruit’s skin indicates the age of a duku tree. Thick-skinned duku usually come from young trees. The thicker the skin is, the younger the duku tree is. Duku trees aged over 40 bear sweeter fruits than younger trees.

With improved communications and transportation, wholesalers from different parts of South Sumatra and even Jakarta now come to duku producing regencies to buy the fruit long before the harvest time.

Wholesalers usually buy duku in three ways. The first is what they call an on-the-tree purchase. This basically means that buyers purchase duku in plantations wholesale. As the purchase agreement is made before the harvest season, often one month before the harvest time, wholesalers usually use the services of assessors to predict the yield of each tree.

Experienced assessors can estimate the quantity of a duku harvest by the size of duku tree trunk. A duku tree trunk with a diameter of a drum can produce around one ton, while those of a medium size aged over 20 years can yield 300 to 600 kilograms and aged over 60 can bear 800 and 900 kilograms.

“Experienced assessors of duku tree production capacity will not miss by much,” Subrandianto said.

The second is buying under the tree, meaning wholesalers buy duku plucked by reapers or climbers, which are weighed and paid for in cash. The reapers themselves work for plantation owners.
The last method is buying through middlemen, who collect duku and offer the fruit to villages from remote plantations. These intermediary collectors are locals, including women and children.

In the past, some wholesalers used chemicals, such as calcium carbide painted onto duku trees, to speed up the fruit’s ripening process, especially when the price is increasing. While the trick works, the practice often causes the duku tree to become barren in the next harvest season.

“They (the wholesalers) have been blacklisted and will no longer be allowed to buy duku in Belatung and the surrounding areas,” said Subradianto.

Khairul Saleh (indonesialogue.com)

August 22, 2009

Longkong Fruits

I ate this fruit several weeks ago, just one day after my first blog. I was just too lazy to post a new one... Anyway, here I am. Longkong is a tropical fruit, grown mostly in southern of Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines. It's in the same species of langsat. In fact, they are very similar, except langsat's skin is more yellow, smoother, and its seeds are more bitter. Longkong used to be an expensive fruit, however, in recent years, its price came down. Now it's very affordable at around 30-50 Baht per kilogram. That day, I went to a fresh food market in Lampang province, and bought longkong (1/2 kg), mangosteen (3 kg), and rambutan (1 kg). I ate them all within 2 days hehe. Unfortunately, because of my laziness, I only took the picture of longkong.

Longkong has abundant of vitamin B, phosphorus, and I think it may have some vitamin C because it's sour. After peeled out the skin, you could see translucent meat inside. The meat is sweet, tasted little sour, soft, and slimy. If you find small seeds inside, you can also eat them. But the bigger the seeds, the bitter they taste.

Buying longkong is somewhat like buying lottery. Sometimes you get a very sweet one, sometimes very sour. Normally, I'll buy only a small amount, not over 1 kg, so if it come out bad, I'll not be so disappointed. Luckily, this one is acceptable, tough not the best. But I finished them within 5 minutes anyway. Mangosteen and rambutan were so good that I didn't want to waste my time taking their photos. I promise to go for mangosteen next time (aka queen of fruit, in Thailand, we left the king for the most lethal fruit on earth, durian!!) (freshfruit-boomboom.blogspot.com)

August 19, 2009

Langsat Fruit

langsat, duku, fruits health, dailyfruits.blogspot.comLansium domesticum Corr. A somewhat less edible fruit of the family Meliaceae, the langsat, Lansium domesticum Corr., is also known as lansa, langseh, langsep, lanzon, lanzone, lansone, or kokosan, and by various other names in the dialects of the Old World tropics.

Description

The tree is erect, short-trunked, slender or spreading; reaching 35 to 50 ft (10.5 to 15 m) in height, with red-brown or yellow-brown, furrowed bark. Its leaves are pinnate, 9 to 20 in (22.5-50 cm) long, with 5 to 7 alternate leaflets, obovate or elliptic-oblong, pointed at both ends, 2 3/4 to 8 in (7-20 cm) long, slightly leathery, dark-green and glossy on the upper surface, paler and dull beneath, and with prominent midrib. Small, white or pale-yellow, fleshy, mostly bisexual, flowers are home in simple or branched racemes which may be solitary or in hairy clusters on the trunk and oldest branches, at first standing erect and finally pendant, and 4 to 12 in (10-30 cm) in length.

The fruit, borne 2 to 30 in a cluster, is oval, ovoid-oblong or nearly round, 1 to 2 in (2.5-5 cm) in diameter, and has light grayish-yellow to pale brownish or pink, velvety skin, leathery, thin or thick, and containing milky latex. There are 5 or 6 segments of aromatic, white, translucent, juicy flesh (arils), acid to subacid in flavor. Seeds, which adhere more or less to the flesh, are usually present in 1 to 3 of the segments. They are green, relatively large–3/4 to 1 in (2-2.5 cm) long and 1/2 to 3/4 in (1.25-2 cm) wide, very bitter, and sometimes, if the flesh clings tightly to the seed, it may acquire some of its bitterness.

Origin and Distribution

The langsat originated in western Malaysia and is common both wild and cultivated throughout the Archipelago and on the island of Luzon in the Philippines where the fruits are very popular and the tree is being utilized in reforestation of hilly areas. It is much grown, too, in southern Thailand and Vietnam and flourishes in the Nilgiris and other humid areas of South India and the fruits are plentiful on local markets. The langsat was introduced into Hawaii before 1930 and is frequently grown at low elevations. An occasional tree may be found on other Pacific islands.

The species is little known in the American tropics except in Surinam. There it is commercially grown on a small scale. Seeds were sent from Java to the Lancetilla Experimental Garden at Tela, Honduras, in 1926 and plants arrived from the same source in 1927. The trees have grown well but are usually unfruitful, occasionally having a small number of fruits. There are bearing trees in Trinidad, where the langsat was established in 1938, and a few around Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, that have been bearing well for about 60 years. There were young specimens growing on St. Croix in 1930.

Southern Florida does not have climatic and soil conditions favorable to the langsat, but the rare-fruit fancier, William Whitman, has managed to raise two bearing trees in special soil and tented for the first several years. Winter cold has caused complete defoliation and near-girdling at the base of the trunks, but the trees made good recovery. Other specimens have survived on the Lower Keys in pits prepared with non-alkaline soil. There have been attempts to maintain langsats at the University of Florida's Agricultural Research and Education Center in Homestead, but the trees have succumbed either to the limestone terrain or low temperatures.

Varieties

There are two distinct botanical varieties: 1) L. domesticum var. pubescens, the typical wild langsat which is a rather slender, open tree with hairy branchlets and nearly round, thick-skinned fruits having much milky latex; 2) var. domesticum, called the duku, doekoe, or dookoo, which is a more robust tree, broad-topped and densely foliaged with conspicuously-veined leaflets; the fruits, borne few to a cluster, are oblong-ovoid or ellipsoid, with thin, brownish skin, only faintly aromatic and containing little or no milky latex. The former is often referred to as the "wild" type but both varieties are cultivated and show considerable range of form, size and quality. There are desirable types in both groups. Some small fruits are completely seedless and fairly sweet.

'Conception' is a sweet cultivar from the Philippines; 'Uttaradit' is a popular selection in Thailand; 'Paete' is a leading cultivar in the Philippines.

Food Uses

The peel of the langsat is easily removed and the flesh is commonly eaten out-of-hand or served as dessert, and may be cooked in various ways.

Varieties with much latex are best dipped into boiling water to eliminate the gumminess before peeling.

The peeled, seedless or seeded fruits are canned in sirup or sometimes candied.

Food Value Per 100 g of Edible Portion*
Moisture 86.5 g
Protein 0.8 g
Carbohydrates 9.5 g
Fiber 2.3 g
Calcium 20.0 mg
Phosphorus 30.0 mg
Carotene (Vitamin A) 13.0 I.U.
Thiamine 89 mcg
Riboflavin 124 mcg
Ascorbic Acid 1.0 mg
Phytin 1.1 mg (dry weight)
*According to analyses made in India.The edible flesh may constitute 60% of the fruit.

Toxicity

An arrow poison has been made from the fruit peel and the bark of the tree. Both possess a toxic property, lansium acid, which, on injection, arrests heartbeat in frogs. The peel is reportedly high in tannin. The seed contains a minute amount of an unnamed alkaloid, 1% of an alcohol-soluble resin, and 2 bitter, toxic principles.

Other Uses

Peel: The dried peel is burned in Java, the aromatic smoke serving as a mosquito repellent and as incense in the rooms of sick people.

Wood: The wood is light-brown, medium-hard, fine-grained, tough, elastic and durable and weighs 52.3 lbs/ cu ft. It is utilized in Java for house posts, rafters, tool handles and small utensils. Wood-tar, derived by distillation, is employed to blacken the teeth.

Medicinal Uses: The fresh peel contains 0.2% of a light-yellow volatile oil, a brown resin and reducing acids. From the dried peel, there is obtained a dark, semi-liquid oleoresin composed of 0.17 % volatile oil and 22% resin. The resin is non-toxic and administered to halt diarrhea and intestinal spasms; contracts rabbit intestine in vitro.









The pulverized seed is employed as a febrifuge and vermifuge. The bark is poulticed (hort.purdue.edu)

August 15, 2009

What is a Kumquat?

kumquat, fruits health, dailyfruits.blogspot.comKumquats, also called kinkan, are the fruits that are produced from small evergreen trees that grow to a height of approximately 10 feet. These trees are also known as kumquats. Although kumquat trees are native to, and prevalent in, Asia -- specifically in China and Indochina, they are also cultivated in Japan and in the United States, in warmer states such as California and Florida. Although many kumquat trees are grown for their sweet, edible fruits, they are also used as ornamental plants because of their attractive, shiny leaves and delicate white flowers that bloom in the summer. Additionally, cut branches of the kumquat tree are used in certain regions as Christmas decorations. Because of the diversity of their use, kumquat trees are becoming popular to grow at home.



The kumquat tree produces small, edible fruits that look similar to oranges. These fruits are extremely juicy and tasty and usually have a sweet outer skin accompanied by a tart, inner flesh. An exception to this is the Meiwa kumquat. This kumquat type has a sweet outer skin and a sweet inner flesh. You can easily identify a kumquat by its bright skin color, which is either orange or yellow. Additionally, kumquats are approximately 1 to 1 1/2 inches in length and are either oval or round in shape depending on the type of kumquat grown. For instance, the Nagami kumquat is oval shaped and has a yellow skin. Meanwhile, the Marumi kumquat has a round shape and an orange colored skin.


You can typically purchase kumquat fruits from December through June at many larger supermarket chains and at some ethnic grocery stores and markets. When purchasing kumquat fruits, make sure that the fruit is firm to your touch and that it does not have any bruises on it. Once purchased, you can store kumquats in your home for up to two weeks provided that they are placed in a plastic container or bag then kept in your refrigerator.


While the most common use for the kumquat fruit is to eat it whole, as is, other popular uses for the fruit include adding pieces of it to fruit salads or to dessert recipes. Kumquats are also used to make jellies, jams and marmalades and are often pickled, whole or preserved in syrups for future use. You might also be able to purchase candied kumquats at some ethnic grocery stores. These treats are quite good and are popular as Chinese confections.


Kumquats are diverse fruits that also offer many nutritional benefits. They are cholesterol, fat, and sodium free and provide a good source of fiber and of the vitamins A and C. Additionally, kumquats contain traces of calcium and iron. For those on a diet, approximately eight kumquats contain 100 calories. Thus, they offer a sweet alternative to other less healthy snack foods.


If you are looking to grow a plant that can serve as both a decorative object and a food source, and you live in a warm climate, you may want to consider the kumquat. It offers an attractive plant and delicious fruit all in one evergreen tree. (essortment.com)